If you were uptown around lunchtime Monday — maybe sitting at your desk looking out of the window or walking down Tryon to grab lunch — you probably saw them. Or you at least heard them. Or someone told you about them.
Four military jets — A-10 “Warthogs,” to be exact — zipped through uptown at low altitude just before noon Monday, startling just about everybody around.
@ESPortillo I’m on the 42nd floor of Duke and it scared the crap out of us. It was at our level. Any ideas?
— Brandon (@bmcgrotha) August 29, 2016
Two fighter jets just buzzed by my window of the high rise bldg I work in – uptown Charlotte NC. Scary!
— Julie H Saunders (@JHSaunders) August 29, 2016
The low-flying planes were also reported in other parts of the city and Huntersville.
Here’s what happened:
– Charlotte Douglas airport officials initially said the planes were practicing a flyover of Bank of America Stadium, presumably for a future Panthers home game.
– One problem: The Panthers said they didn’t have any flyovers scheduled, and if they did they wouldn’t be using Warthogs.
– The planes, part of the 74th fighter squadron of the 23rd Wing, based at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, were actually participating in routine navigation training from Charlotte.
– The planes left CLT at 11:35 a.m. and Charlotte-based air traffic controllers approved the pilots’ request to fly over the stadium after they departed. (The errant initial report, the FAA said later, resulted from one of its employees incorrectly telling a Charlotte Douglas official that the flight was “a practice flyover for a football game.”)
– Under Federal Aviation Administration regulations, planes flying over congested areas of a city must stay “1,000 feet above the highest obstacle.” The FAA did not say how high the planes were flying, but a worker in the Duke Energy building tweeted that one plane looked level with him on 42nd floor. We saw them from the C5 World Headquarters on the 12th floor of the NASCAR Plaza building and the planes didn’t seem to be flying that much higher than us.
– The Air Force and the FAA are looking into the flight. Which probably looks something like this:
Read more about what happened at CharlotteObserver.com.
Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer